Qatar’s digital payments have surged as residents are opting for online transactions over cash payment, in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

The increase in the number of digital transactions will speed up the process of Qatar shifting towards a completely cashless society. 

Due to a significant internet presence and increasing awareness in Qatar, the use of digital payments – whether via mobile phone, cards or online – has remained at  high. Residents are now ramping up the use of cards and online transactions as part of efforts to combat the pandemic from spreading further. 

“I was already using my debit card for most of my shopping. But, after the outbreak of Coronavirus, I am using my debit card for all my payments, even if the amount is small. Actually, I have not touched physical bank notes since the outbreak of Coronavirus,” Tamal Das, an engineer working for a construction company told The Peninsula.

A number of banks and other financial institutions have also encouraged their clients to adopt a cashless lifestyle. As technology advances, digital payments have integrated swiftly into society, a bank official said. 

Lenders in Qatar introduced contactless cards that have eliminated the need to enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) at points of sale. Contactless cards allow consumers to simply tap their card at checkout points at retail outlets. 

“It only takes a second or two to pay through contact less cards. There is no need to insert the card in the machine and, for low-value-purchases, no PIN entry is necessary. In Qatar, for contactless purchases below QR100, no PIN entry is required. Above this amount, users will have to enter the PIN,” a senior bank official told The Peninsula.

“Going cashless is not only safe but it also has health benefits. With physical currency, the chance of spreading of germs is more. We all know that reducing the amount of use of paper currency lowers the transmission of germs. In current situation, we can play our part in limiting the spread of Coronavirus by increasing the use of different modes of digital payments,” Subhash Ghosh, a professional working for an IT company told The Peninsula.